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Why We Are Girls by Rose Hunter

- (Or ladies, sometimes, but everyone knows that’s a bit funny)

A girl is a wisp, a potato chip

barely there, a girl drifts

by the side of the road until you show up

then she’s happy to do whatever you want

more than that: she’s waiting

for the opportunity, any time, any place

she’s a good-time girl

(your good time that means)

and when with you, the others don’t exist.

You don’t have to love a girl although

you can pretend to if it gets you off

since that’s the most important thing, always

and you can pretend so well

you believe it; you can

do whatever with whoever but the girl

only does it with you, this is true

even when it’s obviously not true

see above re pretending; you

don’t need to sell this fantasy to the girl

she’s already been sold it

and is ready to reflect it back to you

(which doesn’t mean she’s bought it

or it could men she has, too). Cash

or cash equivalents are involved

but you can pretend she’d do it for free

if she could (you even say that

and she smiles and laughs

so you know it’s true)

“You like that don’t you,” you

do not need to put a question mark

on that. A girl always says yes

or smiles and laughs, which is the same

as a yes, or squirms and looks like she

doesn’t want to be there; that

just means she’s shy (bonus for

you!) and is a yes too. A girl is

younger than you no matter what age she is

although obviously it’s better

if she’s actually younger. You

are the boss even as you like to

tell her she is (many of you

preferred it that way); tell her about how

empowering all this is for her

she loves it. A girl has no vital

functions you need to know about.

She’s a roadside attraction with heart-shaped

shades that reflect your image

sucking on a red lollipop or awkward

urchin type with acne and hand-me-downs

plain, tattered, or refreshingly

unadorned, yeah. A girl

naturally just is whatever you want

her to be; amazing, right? Even when

she’s not, for those who like

a bit of a challenge, or the troubled

ones, the ones who need

rescuing (to all the Captain Save-a-Hoes)

or the ones who won’t be rescued

the hopeless cases

they’re so romantic, dead

by the side of the road

you can faux mourn them.

Rose Hunter is a sex industry survivor who went on to become a writer and editor. Her latest book, Body Shell Girl (Spinifex Press, 2022), tells the story of the first two years (of ten) that she spent in the sex industry in Canada. About the book, Simone Watson writes: “Shimmering, relentless and candid. You didn’t expect to find yourself here and neither did she; the author takes you deftly through hell with an unexpected tenderness.”

Rose is also the author of various other books of poetry, including Glass (Five Islands Press, 2017), and she has been published widely in literary journals and magazines in Australia, the USA, and Canada. She is currently enrolled in a PhD in Creative Writing at Griffith University. Rose was born in Australia and lived in Canada for ten years, then Mexico for ten more, and now lives in Brisbane/Meanjin.

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